This Is England
is a 2006 British drama film
written and directed by Shane Meadows
. The story centres on young skinheads
in England in 1983. The film illustrates how their subculture
, which has its roots in 1960s West Indian culture, especially ska
, and reggae
became adopted by white nationalists
, which led to divisions within the skinhead scene.
Much of the film was shot in residential areas of Nottingham, including St Ann's, Lenton and The Meadows, with one section featuring abandoned houses at the former airbase RAF Newton, outside of Bingham, Nottinghamshire. The opening fight was filmed at Wilsthorpe Business and Enterprise College, a secondary school in Derbyshire. Additional scenes such as "the docks" were filmed in Turgoose's home town of Grimsby, which is also the opening scene for This is England '86, episode one.
Turgoose was 13 at the time of filming. Turgoose had never acted before, had been banned from his school play for bad behaviour, and demanded £5 to turn up for the film's auditions. The film was dedicated to Turgoose's mother, Sharon, who died of cancer on 29 December 2005; while she never saw the film, she saw a short preview. The cast attended her funeral.
The film is set in an unidentified town in the Midlands. Although much of the film was shot on location in Nottingham, a number of scenes feature the town's docks, which precludes this inland city being the setting for the action. Similarly the accents of the main characters are drawn from a wide geographical area.
On 5 January 2008, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 93% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 82 reviews. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 86 out of 100, based on 23 reviews — indicating "universal acclaim". This made it the tenth best reviewed film of the year.
The film appeared on several US critics' top ten lists of 2007; it was third on the list by Newsweek's David Ansen, seventh on the list by The Oregonian's Marc Mohan, and ninth on the list by Los Angeles Times' Kevin Crust.
In Britain, director Gillies Mackinnon rated the film the best of the year and David M. Thompson, critic and film-maker, rated it third. The film was ranked fourteenth in The Guardian's list of 2007's Best Films and fifteenth in Empire's Movies of the Year.